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Title: The Kings of Charleston (The Kings of Charleston #1)
Author: Kat H. Clayton
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Casper Whitley is forced to move to Charleston, South Carolina where she’ll be the new kid her senior year of high school. Casper’s upset about the move until she meets the Roman family’s gorgeous son, Cal, but there’s a problem. A mystery surrounds him which can be summed up in one word…Kythera. Never heard of it? Neither has Casper until she finds the word tattooed on cars, paintings and all her new friends.
After Casper’s life is threatened, someone is forced to tell the truth about her parents, the Romans and Kythera’s motives for her being in Charleston. Once the truth is revealed, she must decide whether to protect her family and Kythera’s secrets or walk away from everything she has ever known.
It's been quite a while since I've read something so laced with suspense yet doesn't fall under the genres of paranormal or dystopia. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when I picked up this book, but suffice to say I was more than impressed and overwhelmed by what I read. The mystery element thoroughly enriched the novel, and helped set it apart from other YA reads - quite frankly, I don't think I'll be forgetting this novel any time soon. I finished it in one sitting, and the reason is simple, really - the first few pages had me hooked right from the beginning, and Clayton's writing is just tremendous!
I enjoyed reading about our MC, Casper. It took me a while before I warmed to her character though - I know that she isn't comfortable with her lifestyle, but all the complaints about wearing expensive dresses and having her pictures taken all the time got a bit annoying, to say the least. Thankfully, this impression of mine didn't last. After reading more about Casper, it was hard not to notice how lonely she was in reality, and how she wasn't comfortable with throwing her wealth around. Moreover, her love for horses made it difficult to not like her, and I couldn't help but feel sorry for her when she was uprooted from the life she has always know at the blink of an eye.
The mystery of Kythera makes itself known pretty early in the novel. It made the novel thoroughly engrossing, and it is the reason why I couldn't read this particular novel quick enough. Kythera is everywhere in the town of Charleston, and Casper is bombarded by it - the name is on her friends' cars, on paintings, and even tattooed on her friends' bodies. Not only that, this very word also managed to inspire terror from the other people who live in Charleston, and Casper somehow finds herself in the middle of the mystery of Kythera - just what is it, and what does it have to do with Casper and her family?
While the mystery of Kythera had me on the edge of my seat and tearing through the pages of The Kings of Charleston like a madwoman, I wasn't that thrilled with the romance aspect of this novel. It came out of nowhere - Casper sets foot on the town of the Charleston for the very first time, and next thing we know, the neighbors' son, Cal, is spewing out all these lines how Casper is so beautiful and all that. Truth be told, the romance felt out of place, and as much as I tried to like Cal's character, I couldn't. He's too smooth, too slick, and basically an enigma. Not to mention, he's something of a liar as well. Lastly, he says he loves Casper, but I can't fathom how he came to that feeling in the first place.
From the middle of the novel, the action picks up, and it doesn't relent until the very end. Casper is thrown into hazardous situations one after the other, and it soon becomes clear that Kythera isn't your average organization. All in all, this is one heck of an exciting read, and I definitely recommend it!